Compassion Fatigue: How to Deal with It Effectively

Are you looking for effective ways to deal with compassion fatigue?

Compassion fatigue happens when one has to remain compassionate for prolonged periods for those struggling.

This type of fatigue is typically experienced by caregivers like therapists and nurses, who are expected to put on a happy face even if they have been emotionally drained all day long.

Compassion fatigue is typically characterized by emotional and physical exhaustion and a decrease in the person’s ability to empathize with others.

The condition is also seen as some secondary stress and referred to as the cost of caring for those in emotional or physical pain.

While people sometimes mistake compassion fatigue for burnout, the two are two different things.

The former is considered more treatable but is also less predictable.

The latter, on the other hand, typically develops over time.

Ways to Deal with Compassion Fatigue Effectively

Dealing with compassion fatigue is no easy feat. 

However, it can be done.

Below are some of the most effective ways you can deal with compassion fatigue:

Note mood changes

One of the first steps to do when dealing with compassion fatigue is to note any mood changes.

When working stressful jobs like therapy, nursing, and caregiving, it is common to feel tense and stressed.

If you find yourself in a stressful position, give yourself a moment alone to relax and collect yourself.

Doing some deep breathing exercises can also do wonders for you.

If you feel anger, irritability, and other negative emotions frequently, you are likely suffering from compassion fatigue.

Knowing the first signs of the condition is vital so you can address it promptly and accordingly.

Don’t beat yourself up if you develop compassion fatigue.

It does not mean you are a terrible person.

Instead, you need to remember that you are a good person who needs to be looked after as well.

Prioritize yourself

Once you confirm that you have compassion fatigue, you must set aside time to look after yourself.

For instance, you can take a quick vacation to relax.

Getting away to a local place is another option you can look into.

The bottom line is you need to show up for yourself.

Self-care can come in various forms.

Also, it is also important to forgive yourself if you don’t get to live up to your expectations and that of others.

It can range from getting a massage to relieve tensions in the body to joining a forum to share your frustrations with others.

Take a break from caregiving

Taking a break between patients can be tricky if caregiving is your full-time job.

However, remember that taking time to decompress is crucial so you can continue to carry out your job effectively.

Use your break to catch up with a friend, watch funny or relaxing videos, or chat with a friend.

If you are looking after a family member, ask other family members to take over the caregiving duties, even for a few hours or a day.

Taking the time out to shower, eat, and sleep is also essential so you can effectively recharge and continue to be a kind and loving person to the people you are looking after.

Look for a caregiver support group

There are many caregiver support groups where you can join people who are also going through compassion fatigue.

Connecting with others who are going through the same thing can help you figure out what to expect and help give you insights and tips so you can combat compassion fatigue more effectively.

Also, when you can connect with others experiencing the same thing, you can vent your frustrations, and you will feel better knowing you are not alone.

Speak with a therapist

If you are struggling with compassion fatigue, speaking with a therapist can make a world of difference.

Caring for another person, be it a loved one or a patient is no easy feat.

This can be especially difficult if you are not doing well or feeling well yourself.

Caregiving is a tough job; at times, it can be hard to be positive and cheerful, especially when you and the person you are looking after are going through emotional or mental pain.

Fortunately, many caregiving workplaces include therapy in their insurance plans.

If this is true for you, make sure to take advantage of any therapy sessions available so you can give more care, love, and kindness to yourself and the person you are looking after.

Find a great and fun hobby

Disconnecting from your caregiving role and doing something for yourself is vital for overcoming compassion fatigue.

What are some of the things you love and enjoy doing?

Do you like eating out?

Do you like watching movies?

Do you like reading?

Whatever hobbies you have or would like to pursue, make sure you make time for them.

Learning a new hobby or skill can let you shut stressful thoughts off and experience a flow state.

Take Care of Yourself Physically

There are various physical activities that you can do to combat compassion fatigue.

If you find yourself mostly standing or sitting throughout the day, integrate activities to help you deal with your frustrations and stress.

Dancing, weight lifting, running, and martial arts are some ways to take care of yourself effectively.

Exercise can also be a great way to relax when you feel stress and frustrations building up inside of you.

It is also important that you take advantage of supplements and vitamins that can help boost your energy levels.

Set and honor your boundaries

One of the keys to combating compassion fatigue is setting boundaries.

In the professional setting, you can ask your superior to help you set boundaries to avoid compassion fatigue or burnout when providing patient care.

Manage your thoughts properly

Controlling your emotions is crucial to winning the battle against compassion fatigue.

When frustrated or stressed, your thoughts can quickly go off tangent if you allow your mind to wander long enough.

Consider doing guided meditations to help you deal with negative thoughts more effectively.

As long as you learn how to deal with intrusive and negative thoughts, you will be able to deal with compassion fatigue more effectively.

Pamper yourself

Compassion fatigue can be tough to deal with.

That said, you also need to pamper yourself and look after yourself as much as possible.

Do things that can bring you back to a happy and relaxed state.

This also includes eating a balanced diet to ensure you have energy to do the things you want.

Perhaps you can have a night out with friends or visit a salon to get yourself pampered — anything that can help you feel better about life and yourself again.


Compassion fatigue can be very emotionally draining. However, it is also important to remember that compassion fatigue also means you have a huge heart. It means you love and care for others so much. That said, you also need to remember that to continue to love and serve others with love and kindness, you also need to provide the same love and care to yourself. 

Don’t miss these tips!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

%d bloggers like this: